Where can “Priority Allergens” be found?

 

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On Friday I shared a post about soybeans and 2 places I really did not expect I would find them – ink and pillows. This morning I thought I would share some information shared on Anaphylaxis Canada’s website about “priority allergens”, also known as food allergens identified as being the most common, based on Canadian food labelling requirements.

Here are the 10 “priority allergens”:

  • Eggs
  • Milk
  • Mustard
  • Peanuts
  • Seafood (fish, crustaceans, shellfish)
  • Sesame
  • Soy
  • Sulphites
  • Tree Nuts
  • Wheat

Anaphylaxis Canada – Priority Food Allergens

Anaphylaxis Canada has clearly outlined other names, possible sources and non-food sources for the different food allergens. Though the lists are not exhaustive, they are a great place to start if you are curious where some of these food allergens can be hidden.

Have a look and let us all know in the comments if anything surprised you. Are there other sources you have found for any of the 10 food allergens listed above that are not on Anaphylaxis Canada’s website?

Safe Holidays?

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How were your Holidays? Were you able to eat delicious food surrounded by those you love without a reaction. Thanks to wonderful friends and family who truly understand my allergies, I had a reaction free Christmas. Even my environmental allergies were well controlled as I avoided any environments which might have triggered a reaction.

If you and your family went to friends and family for dinner, did your hosts understand your food allergies? If they had pets, did they understand how your asthma and allergies would be affected?

Hopefully you had great safe holidays and that New Years will also be a safe one for you. If you are going somewhere, please prepare ahead and communicate your allergies and the level of severity. Better to be safe.

Have a wonderful Monday!

Erika

 

Happy Holidays!

I would like to wish you and your family a happy holiday season!

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Remember to be safe and not take any risks with food that you are allergic to. You do not want to end up in the ER on Christmas Eve. I’ve been there, done that and do not wish that upon anyone. We spent December 24th driving to the hospital and all evening in the ER for observation. Please be cautious when eating away from home. There is no such thing as being “too careful”. Ask lots of questions, bring food you know you can eat and let others around you know about your allergies and that you carry and epinepherine auto-injector so that someone can help you if you have a severe reaction. Plan ahead.

As for environmental triggers, speak up and let others know when you are having a reaction or your asthma is flaring up due to pets, smoke, incense or candles.

 

Happy holidays!

Erika

Hosting for friends and family with food allergies – Preparing the food

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Are you hosting a holiday party and know that you will have guests with food allergies and/or sensitivities like gluten? Do you have food allergies and/or sensitivities? If you don’t, you may be nervous about preparing the food safely.

Once you have done the meal planning and grocery shopping and are ready to start prepping and making the food you make sure you pay careful attention to ingredient labels and avoid cross-contamination.

  1. Re-read ingredient labels Even if you have already read the ingredient list on items when you were in the grocery store, re-read them at least two more times before using the product. Be very very meticulous when reading over ingredients. You will want to look on each side of the package to make sure they have not listed a “may contain” label somewhere else on the package. Unfortunately, some manufacturers do not write may contain labels near the actual ingredient list. Know the ingredients. There is no “overly cautious” here. It’s important to be 100% certain that the items you use are safe for guests with food allergies. I’d recommend you keep the wrapper or box or cut out the ingredients so your guest can re-read the ingredients too. I trust friends and family to prepare food for me, however I always  re-read ingredient labels even if you are told it is safe.
  2. Be extremely cautious of cross-contamination   If you will be preparing some food which your guest is allergic or sensitive to make a plan before you start cooking of which utensils you will use for which foods. In making a plan before you start preparing and cooking, it will help you be more aware and reduce the risk that you end up using utensils that you prepared unsafe food with to prepare the allergy safe food. Make sure the cutting board is clean and the surface you plan to work on as well. I often recommend preparing the food for the guest with food allergies on plates as that surface is definitely safer than a cutting board which, especially if plastic may have residues from previous unsafe ingredients. Use your best judgement and if you are ever unsure, pick up the phone and call the guest or parent of the guest.  Communication is always key!

Wish there were more Christmas parties to go to!

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As I mentioned on Friday, we had a busy weekend ahead with two Christmas parties. They were both great fun! For the first, I was very relieved that we had eaten at home before going. It was definitely less awkward/uncomfortable for me as we had both eaten before the party. I am extremely fortunate to have a partner who will skip the meal too, so I don’t feel left out. We headed to the first party on a full stomach which is something I need to do more often so I don’t feel like I am missing out. I was so content with our delicious curried chicken dinner that I didn’t even feel like I was missing out on the wonderful desserts they had. I was glad I hadn’t tried to eat there as it ended up being a Chinese dinner, so I was very happy avoiding the food altogether.

After dinner Santa Claus showed up and each child got a gift! It was a great family oriented party and I made sure to wash my hands after shaking other people’s hands to be sure I wouldn’t have any allergens on my hands. I didn’t touch my face either, or brush hair away, to be sure I didn’t react from a previous handshake or from touching something. For me, it is important that I be cautious, and try to avoid being paranoid, so I take steps to prevent a reaction. We came home safe and sound!

After a good night’s sleep we were headed to the second party which was being held at the University of Victoria, here in Victoria, British Columbia. It was a beautiful location and we were lucky as it wasn’t raining too much. The second party, a Christmas lunch was much smaller than the Friday night one which was nice as I had been able to speak with the kitchen staff prior to the lunch. Once we arrived, we went to the kitchen staff and I introduced myself. They said that they had plates prepared for me and would bring them out the moment everyone else started getting their food from the buffet. They brought me a nice large salad with kale vinegar and oil, as I had asked for to be safe, and a second plate, the entrée, with turkey, steamed potatoes and vegetables. I was relieved when they brought out the 2 plates, as there was no dressing for me to worry about and no sauce on the turkey for me to be concerned about. When I am dining out, I much prefer plain veggies and meat as it’s one less thing I need to worry about. The food was delicious and by the end of it I was stuffed! However the fruit platter they had made me was irresistible, so I ate that too! I had a wonderful time, had no stress and spent a nice afternoon with colleagues.

All and all, a wonderful weekend. I just wish there were more! Unfortunately the other one we had planned to attend was on Friday night, so we couldn’t attend both. Next year, we are keeping our fingers crossed we will be able to attend all of them!

Have you had any Christmas parties yet? If so, how were they? If you haven’t had them yet, what are you doing to prepare for your Christmas party?

 

Christmas Parties and Food Allergies

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December 1st has arrived and I keep asking myself where the time has gone. This year has flown by! In any case, December is a fun month filled with Christmas parties, friends, family and lots of joy and laughter. Have you been invited to any Christmas parties this year, or perhaps in the New Year? Are they organized by your work or your partners work? Are they hosted by friends? These are all questions that will often distinguish the approach you take before hand to ensure you can have an enjoyable time without worrying about having an allergic reaction.

Are they organized by your work or your partners work?

Communicating with the person organizing the Christmas party might be very different for each scenario. If your company is hosting, you may be able to speak to the catering staff because the company you work for will want to ensure you are able to eat and have a good time. If the Christmas party is organized by your partners work, you may have to jump through a few more hoops to try and speak to the caterer. I always say that if you don’t get all the answers you need and speak to the people you want to speak to, like catering staff etc. it is much better to simply eat before you go. That is my plan this year.

Are they hosted by friends?

If your friends are hosting a party, you might feel much more comfortable discussing your allergies with them and they may already have your list. You might even be able to help in the food planning as well as in the kitchen. I know for me, if a friend is organizing a party with food, I always see if I can help with the cooking and prep  that way I can ensure I will be able to eat safely. If for some reason you are unable to help with the prep, make sure you feel very safe before you eat anything. If someone else has brought the food and you aren’t certain it is safe, do NOT eat it. Be safe. Do not take chances with life-threatening allergies.

Please tell someone if you feel sick after eating something. Even if you are not sure it is an allergic reaction. It is important that others around you know what is going on especially if you were to react. Safety first.

Best,

Erika

Food Allergies and Anaphylaxis- No Joke

Many of you know that Severe food allergies and Anaphylaxis are no joke. There are still many people out there that do not realize how serious and life-threatening a food that may seem so innocent, like a peanut can be. We need to raise awareness.

Below is yet another sad story of what happens when us severely allergic people ingest these foods and a reminder of how important it is to take every possible precaution possible. When your life is on the line. Be as safe as you can be.

Amy’s nut allergy devastates family and friends

These stories need to be shared. We need to raise awareness that food allergies are no joke.